Monday, December 31, 2007

Idle Race (1969)

This is the second album from Birmingham's the Idle Race, following their peculiar psych-pop debut, Birthday Party. This is the first record that chief songwriter Jeff Lynne would produce. Poor record sales for their first record forced them to strive for a more cohesive, accessible sound, which they pulled off quite well. But I can't help but miss the unique aspects of Birthday Party that made it so great. This one's just a bit too concise in it's songwriting and production, but good nonetheless. Unfortunately, Idle Race didn't succeed commercially, which led to Jeff Lynne's departure from the group. He would go on to join the Move, which had offered him a position in the band prior to the release of Idle Race. The group would continue on without Lynne, releasing one last record, Time Is, in 1971. It was never really the same band without Lynne, though.

Download Idle Race

Sunday, December 30, 2007

More Music Videos

"Should a Cloud Replace a Compass?"
Circulatory System
Circulatory System

"Another Set of Bees in the Museum"
Olivia Tremor Control
Black Foliage: Animation Music

I guess I've been on that music video tip lately.

Tomorrow (1968)

Tomorrow are a prime example of classic British psychedelia. The band's most notable members were guitarist Steve Howe (later of Yes...yup, Yes), singer/songwriter Keith West, and drummer Twink, who would become a fixture in the British psychedelic scene, playing with the likes of the Pretty Things and the Pink Fairies. Twink also had an extremely brief stint in a band called Stars with Syd Barret, but Barret apparently walked off stage halfway through their first live performance. In the midst of Tomorrow's existence, West would find success in releasing solo singles, including "Excerpt From a Teenage Opera" which would reach number two on the British charts. To some extent, his solo career led to the demise of Tomorrow. Tomorrow is the band's only album and has come to be praised as a psychedelic cornerstone. The songwriting is top-notch with excellent instrumentation, lyrics, and occasional far-out psychedelic effects (primarily on the famous, "My White Bicycle"). The album includes a rendition of "Strawberry Fields Forever," which comes close to eclipsing the original Beatles' version. Just for the fun of it, I've posted the original version of "My White Bicycle" and a cover by Nazareth, of "Love Hurts" and "Hair of the Dog" fame. Now you're messin' with a son of a bitch.

Tomorrow - My White Bicycle

Nazareth - My White Bicycle

Download Tomorrow

Friday, December 28, 2007

Old Favorites with New Albums

Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks and the Breeders will both be releasing new records soon. Neither of these bands are very psychedelic related (Malkmus has his moments), but they're two of my old favorite bands so I decided to give them a plug. Both Malkmus and Kim Deal of the Breeders were recently interviewed by Pitchfork and they're both quality reads.

Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks' Real Emotional Trash will be released on March 4th. The Breeders' Mountain Battles will be released on April 7th in the US and April 8th in the UK. Mark your calendars. Now.

Pitchfork interview with Stephen Malkmus
Pitchfork interview with Kim Deal

Dungen Music Videos

"Stadsvandringar" from Stadsvandringar
This one's pretty silly.

"Solen Stiger Upp" from Stadsvandringar
This one's digital design as hell, which isn't really my taste, but it has its moments.

"Panda" from Ta Det Lugnt
This one's extra hard.

"Festival" from Ta Det Lugnt
This one's extra hard, too.

"Familj" from Tio Bitar
This one's extra hard, three.

I think that's all of their videos. If anyone knows of any I'm missing, let me know.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Always Blue Society Compilation Vol. 3

Here's my third compilation. I think it's my sickest yet as far as sequencing goes.

1. Things'll Never Be The Same - Spacemen 3
2. On A Side Street - Bardo Pond
3. The Helicopter Spies - Swell Maps
4. The Man On The Dune - The Outsiders
5. Define A Transparent Dream - The Olivia Tremor Control
6. Citadel - The Rolling Stones
7. Sukoon [Reflection] - Saddar Bazaar
8. Being Is More Than Life - Baby Grandmothers
9. Follow Me - Czar
10. Red The Sign Post - Fifty Foot Hose
11. Radio Gnome Invisible - Gong
12. Program Ten- Part Six - Bill Holt

Download The Always Blue Society Compilation Vol. 3

Monday, December 24, 2007

Gong - Radio Gnome Invisible 1 - Flying Teapot (1973)

This is the first installment of Gong's three-part Radio Gnome Invisible series. Gong was formed in the late 60s by Australian guitarist Daevid Allen (ex-Softmachine) and his wife Gilli Smith.
The group released three records prior to this series. According to, the Radio Gnome Invisible series is about Zero the Hero, who "is a space traveler from Earth who gets lost and finds the Planet Gong, is taught the ways of that world by the gnomes, (pothead) pixies, and Octave Doctors and is sent back to Earth to spread the word about this mystical planet." I really haven't taken the time to venture into this lyrical realm and probably never will. The music is good though, so who cares about that weird shit. Flying Teapot is considered prog-rock but I'm sure most people will find it far more idiosyncratic and goofy than the majority of prog-rock
(I think the cover makes this pretty clear). It has a rich sound through the use of a variety of instrumentation, including saxophone, piano, synth, and space guitar courtesy of Steve Hillage. Hillage's guitar playing is often reminiscent of Hawkwind and I suspect that he influenced the likes of Makoto Kawabata of Acid Mothers Temple. The vocals are one of the biggest highlights. Allen and Smith deliver their mythic space tales through whispers, howls, cackles, sexually explicit ramblings, and yeah, singing too. Flying Teapot is an interesting album to say the least.

Download Radio Gnome Invisible 1 - Flying Teapot

Monday, December 10, 2007

New Dead Meadow song "What Needs Must Be"

Matador Records recently posted "What Needs Must Be" from Dead Meadow's forthcoming album Old Growth which will be released on February 5. It's an extremely good tune. Also, you can purchase Old Growth early if you go see Dead Meadow live at the Bowery Ballroom in New York City on January 16. The cost for a ticket and CD is just $25 from the Matador website. Hmmm... I just might head to NYC for that. Man, that album cover is pretty fucking boss.

Dead Meadow - What Needs Must Be

Visit Dead Meadow's page on the Matador website for more

Bill Holt - Dreamies (1974)

This is a truly unique album that is widely considered to be one of the earliest examples of sampling. Recorded in a suburb of Philadelphia called Delaware, Bill Holt's Dreamies consists of acoustic songs that weave in and out of musique concrète inspired found sound and samples from television broadcasts and Beatles songs. There is also a heavy use of the Moog Sonic 6 synthesizer. The album is broken up into two parts, entitled Program 10 and Program 11 (originally intended for each to be a side of the record), which is a clear reference to the Beatles "Revolution #9" from the White Album. At certain moments, Dreamies reminds me of a number of different artists. Holt's voice has a somberness at times similar to Elliot Smith and the songwriting seems to be a precursor to neo-psych-pop like the Olivia Tremor Control. The use of found sound and samples is strikingly similar to what the Tape-beatles would be doing over a decade later. Due to it's mixture of songs and sampling, Dreamies is an album that has proved to be ahead of it's time.

This link is no longer available.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Saddar Bazaar - The Conference of the Birds (1995)

Saddar Bazaar are a group from Bristol, UK that formed in 1990. The Conference of the Birds is an entirely instrumental album that combines Eastern influenced raga with Western instrumentation like slide guitar and keyboard. There is a heavy use of the sitar and other Eastern instruments such as kubing, dholak, agoul, sitar, duff and tablas. I've yet to hear their other material so I'm not sure if this is their typical style, but I think that it's in a similar vein. The Conference of the Birds makes for nice background music yet it's also impressive when closely observed. The instrumentation and composition seem highly considered, making for an overall consistent album.

Download The Conference of the Birds

Saturday, November 17, 2007

The Olivia Tremor Control - Explanation II: Instrumental Themes and Dream Sequences (1999)

This is a collection of ambient "cycles." It was apparently meant to be played simultaneously with Dusk at Cubist Castle to create quadrophonic sound, yet some contest this because it's shorter than Dusk at Cubist Castle. Whether or not this is how it was intended to be heard, it definitely does make for some interesting sounds when the two are played together. It's also a good listen in and of itself. The music apparently consists of guitar feedback, organ, piano, chimes, and clarinet. It's said to have been recorded on the band's back porch in Athens, Georgia, which adds some interesting background noises like barking dogs, chirping crickets, and thunderstorms. I'm still unsure of the band's true intent with this music, but I suspect it has something to do with their side project the Black Swan Network, which was music inspired by submitted recordings of descriptions of dreams.

Download Explanation II: Instrumental Themes and Dream Sequences

The Olivia Tremor Control - Music from the Unrealized Film Script, Dusk at Cubist Castle (1996)

The Olivia Tremor Control were the only group from the Elephant Six collective that's ever been able to really hold my attention. I definitely enjoy a lot of the other material, but OTC seemed more mysterious and capable of creating authentic psychedelic sounds. Formed in Athens, Georgia in 1992, OTC consisted of primary creative forces Will Cullen Hart and Bill Doss. Jeff Magnum of Neutral Milk Hotel was an original member and Robert Schneider of Apples in Stereo contributed to the recording of this album. Dusk at Cubist Castle is a collection of catchy psych-pop tunes and extended ambient explorations, all of which are heavily layered with manipulated tape loops, a wide range of instrumentation, and various psychedelic textures. It's an ambitious album which apparently took around three years to complete. I've always found it to be an impressive album because of its balance between great songwriting and experimentation. Along with the Dukes of Stratosphear, OTC is one of the main reasons I originally became interested in psychedelic music. By the way, the name of this blog is lifted from the lyrics of "Define a Transparent Dream."

Download Dusk at Cubist Castle

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Mr. S is a supersonic streak in the sky

I'll get back to posting some albums soon, but until then enjoy this very psychedelic children's program from the 70s. Somehow I missed out on this when I was a kid. Be sure to listen to the original version of the song at the end.

Mr. S and his secret box

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Psychedelic Sampling

Bubble Puppy - A Gathering of Promises

Bubble Puppy was a psychedelic band formed in San Antonio, TX and this is the title track from their one and only album from 1969, A Gathering of Promises. Man, those guys looked like some oddballs.

Manitoba - Skunks

Manitoba was the name of a project consisting of primary creative force Dan Snaith from Ontario, Canada. Snaith is an electronic musician who's very influenced by psychedelia. This is from the Manitoba album from 2003, Up In Flames. Snaith now makes music under the name Caribou due to a legal dispute with Richard "Handsome Dick" Manitoba of the Dictators.

As I'm sure you'll notice, Snaith has sampled the intro from Bubble Puppy's "A Gathering of Promises" and integrated it throughout his own song. I'm curious as to whether he structured the rest of the song around the sample or if he added it after he had already developed other elements of the song. I'm guessing it's the former judging by how the sample starts the song off and then other elements seem to layer on top of it as it continues to loop. Either way, I think it's a nice use of an obscure sample. I'm planning to do at least one more entry about the sampling of psychedelic music. Hopefully I can come across some more.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Fifty Foot Hose - Cauldron (1968)

This is without a doubt one of the most tripped-out albums you will ever hear. Hailing from San Fransisco, Fifty Foot Hose's music is idiosyncratic west coast psychedelia layered with electronic madness similar to that of the United States of America and White Noise. The group consisted of founding member/bassist Louis "Cork" Marcheschi, guitarist David Blossom, vocalist Nancy Blossom (married to David), drummer Kim Kimsey and guitarist Larry Evans. Influenced by experimental composers like Edgard Varése, John Cage, Terry Riley, and George Antheil, Cork Marcheschi created his own electronic instrument from various elements like theremins, fuzzboxes, a cardboard tube, and a speaker from a World War II aircraft bomber...what a total fucking badass. His experimentations proved to be worthwhile because some of the noises created on this album sound from anywhere but earth. The rest of the group is on point too. There are some top-notch acid guitar leads and Nancy Blossom's powerful vocals are reminiscent of Grace Slick without being too derivative. There are some male vocals as well that are good, but Nancy Blossom's contributions are more compelling and confident. The vast experimental explorations of the album never seem to hinder the quality of the songs, making for one beast of an album. The last four songs are bonus tracks, which includes Cork Maraschi's wild atonal experiment, "Bad Trip," which foreshadows the directions noise bands would be headed a decade later. Another thing worth noting is that the song "God Bless the Child" is a Billie Holiday cover, which I've yet to check out.

Download Cauldron

Sunday, October 21, 2007

The Rolling Stones - Their Satanic Majesties Request (1967)

I don't know much about the Stones, but when I first got wind that they released a psychedelic record, I was immediately interested. Apparently it was poorly received upon release, many claiming it was a Sgt. Pepper's ripoff. While I'm sure it was influenced by the Beatles' classic, I think it holds it's own with great songwriting and experimentation that still holds up today. The Stones make use of the Mellotron keyboard, orchestral arrangements and African rhythms, making it one of their most unique albums.

Fun Fact: The name Their Satanic Majesties Request is a reference to a line in Brittish passports that says, "Her Britannic Majesty requests and requires..."

This link is no longer available.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Swell Maps - Jane from Occupied Europe (1980)

Swell Maps originally consisted of brothers Epic Soundtracks (Kevin Godfrey) and Nikki Sudden (Nicholas Godfrey) from Birmingham, England. According to, they were "named after the charts used by surfers to gauge wave intensities." Although exisiting as far back as 1972, the group really took shape around '76 or '77 after adding members Richard Earl, David Barrington, John Cockrill and Jowe Head. They sporadically released singles until 1979 when they released their first album, A Trip to Marineville. Their music contributed to the rise of post-punk through its combination of snarly punk and Krautrock inspired noise. Throughout all of Jane from Occupied Europe, the Swell Maps sound as though they were at an extremely high level of creativity. They remained true to the sound of A Trip to Marineville while becoming even more sophisticated at integrating their songs and experimenation. I've yet to hear any of their compilations of unreleased material, but I've been highly interested for some time.


Epic Soundtracks - 23 March 1959 - 5 November 1997

Nikki Sudden - 19 July 1956 – 26 March 2006

Download Jane from Occupied Europe

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Blossom Toes - "Postcard" Single (1968)

Here's a single by the Blossom Toes with two songs called "Postcard" and "Everyone's Leaving Me Now." "Postcard" is classic psych-pop that would have fit in nicely on We Are Ever So Clean while "Everyone's Leaving Me Now" is a pop tune with a jazzy sound. In addition to this single, I recently came across the bonus tracks from We Are Ever So Clean. There are five songs that didn't make the album plus some demos, live versions and a BBC interview with band member, Jim Cregan (the songwriter who writes the "slightly more freaky things").

Download Postcard
Download the We Are Ever So Clean Bonus Tracks

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Czar (1970)

This isn't one of my favorites, but it's pretty good and what little the album lacks is made up for with the amazingly bizarre album cover. Originally known as Tuesday's Children, Czar was a British band that played mildly progressive rock with blues and pop influences. They never made it far despite heavy touring with the likes of the Moody Blues, Pink Floyd, the Kinks, Jimi Hendrix, the Who and King Crimson. After changing their name to Czar in 1970, they recorded this sole album and parted ways. Apparently they recorded the album late at night after playing shows, frequently writing the songs the very same day they were recorded. These recordings were then overdubbed with Mellotron keyboard, which is a fixture throughout the album. Despite some blandness and cheesiness (check out "Today"), Czar has some great songs with interesting musical passages and adept instrumentation. The lead guitar is especially impressive, sounding strangely similar to Brian May of Queen on the Pink Floyd-esque "Dawning Of A New Day." The two last tracks are bonus tracks that are quite different from the album. "Oh Lord I'm Getting Heavy" is heavily gospel influenced while "Why Don't We Be A Rock'n Roll Band" is an all-out rock cliché.

Download Czar

Spacemen 3 Interview

Here's an interview with Spacemen 3 that I meant to post shortly after my last post. Sonic Boom seems to dominate the majority of the conversation. There's also some pretty sweet clips from the music video for "Hypnotized" during the interview. The full version of the music video is also on youtube.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Spacemen 3 - Forged Prescriptions (1987)

Spacemen 3 was a British band featuring primary creative forces Jason Pierce (later of Spiritualized) and Pete Kember AKA Sonic Boom (best nickname ever). This double disc collection of Perfect Prescription-era demos, alternate takes and covers also features percusionist Stewart "Rosco" Rosswell and Pete "Bassman" Baines. Spacemen 3 was heavily drug-fueled, which is quite evident in their droned and repetitive sound. The band would have many line-up changes throughout their existence, often due to turmoil between Pierce and Sonic Boom. During the time of these recordings they apparently worked well together, which I think really shows. I find this collection to be some of their best work. I actually prefer many of the versions on Forged Prescriptions to the Perfect Prescription versions, particularly "Things'll Never Be The Same" and the demo version of "Come Down Easy."

And now a word from Sonic Boom from the liner notes:

As I sit writing this it's 10 years to the day since we were making this record and the sun shines hard and bright just like it did at the time. The last 10 years seem simultaneously to be merely the blink of an eye and yet also a whole lifetime. Much has changed for the better and the worse. It thankfully seems a long time since the drug busts of the Thatcherite "just say no" era and its strange to remember the first ecstasy parties around this time and recall its novelty before it became a cultural icon.

Its also strange how this body of material has come to be meaningful to a whole subculture - exactly the people we hoped to live, love, cry and die with. Maybe, just maybe, this is the way it was meant to be - equally sad, joyful, destructive and generative. This is Spacemen 3 in bloom, midsummer before the seeds were scattered. Right at the point where we worked together well, and, in compliment to each other. I still have strong memories of days where we would crash out listening to nothing but one song over and over making hypno-monotony from slices of hypno-monotony. Mattresses were installed into the studio's lounging space and our kaleidoscopic light show stayed on throughout the session, permanently focused on the studio's revolving mirror-ball, myriad rays of micro-psychedelic worlds (and whirls) mixing with our minds and music. Actually the projector's fan noise permeated most of the recording and was considered an unfortunate but necessary evil.

I also remember spending several hours lying on the floor wearing headphones and having our Thai-grass addled humour fed through the echo machine and back to our ear goggles inducing a feedback of echo, laughter and stupidity. I wish I had it on tape - this sort of unusual activity and experimentation definitely contributed to pieces like "Ecstacy Symphony" and "Transparent Radiation". Slightly darker and sometimes less benign feelings contributed to the more macabre songs like "Call The Doctor", "Ode To Street Hassle" and "Things'll Never Be The Same", showing the inevitable contrast in our lives and our experiences at the time.

When some of this material was first released it oozed out to little acclaim and only slight acceptance by a clued-in few. It was a great disappointment to us. We felt we had managed to trap a portion of our souls into the micro-fine grooves of the original Glass release (symbolically somehow caught forever like a fly in amber and preserved - a moment in time and mood).

We spent several months, broken only by touring, recording and re-working these pieces until we felt they were ready slowly learning more about the studio and its techniques as we went. These versions show some variation to the original release, which was more stripped. Many different takes and versions were experimented with - "Walking With Jesus" had been an all fuzz, tremelo and feedback song before these sessions.

Here at last are the full guitar laden versions with all the layers of beautifully streamlined guitar - considered by us to be too hard to replicate live and therefore reduced for the original release. Also included for the first time are some unreleased covers, demos and tributes from the same sessions.

For me, this is where Spacemen 3 songwriting came to a head - many of these songs pre-dated "Sound Of Confusion", some were even recorded at both sessions, but I am still impressed mightily by Jason's lyrical genius on originals like "Walking With Jesus" and re-writes like "Come Down Easy" and his fluid guitar playing across the whole sessions.

To be sure "Playing With Fire" was soon to be our long and sultry Indian Summer but "Perfect Prescription" was the progeny of that hot, lazy (and occasionally rainy) summer.

Sonic Boom

Download Forged Prescriptions

Friday, August 31, 2007

The Outsiders - C.Q. (1968)

The Outsiders were a Dutch band from Amsterdam that were a part of the "Nederbeat" scene and sang entirely in English. The band's lineup consisted of Wally Tax on vocals, Ronnie Splinter on guitar, Appie Rammers on bass, Tom Krabbendam on guitar and Leendert "Buzz" Busch on drums. Frank Beek would later replace Rammers on bass guitar from 1968-1969. This is their third and final record, which sold poorly upon release but has since become regarded as a conrnerstone of psychedelic garage rock. C.Q. touches on a number of different styles of rock music. There is a combination of fast paced R&B with a punk edge similar to early Pretty Things, eerie experimental material (check out the title track "C.Q."), space rock that recalls Syd Barret-era Pink Floyd, and folk rock. What makes this all the more interesting is that these styles are frequently explored within a single song. In my opinion, this album foreshadows the directions post-punk bands would soon be exploring, particularly Chairs Missing-era Wire. The unpredictability of C.Q. has made it one of my favorite recent discoveries and I have the feeling it's something I'll be coming back to frequently. I'm also pretty into the Lichtenstein-esque cover.

Fun Fact: Apparently Kurt Cobain was a fan of the Outsiders and unsuccessfully tried to meet Wally Tax.

Stand-Out Tracks:
"Daddy Died On Saturday"
"It Seems Like Nothings Gonna Come My Way Today"
"The Man on the Dune"
"Prison Song"

Download C.Q.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Baby Grandmothers (1968)

Baby Grandmothers were a Swedish band that played extended, improvised heavy psychedelic rock that's largely instrumental. Originally an R&B group called T-Boones, they were renamed the Baby Grandmothers by the co-founder of the short lived Stockholm psychedelic club Filips, which hosted such acts as the Jimi Hendrix Experience and the Mothers of Invention. The band originally consisted of Pelle Ekman on drums, Göran Malmberg on bass and Kenny Håkansson on guitar and vocals, but Malmberg would be replaced by Bengt “Bella” Linnarsson. After adding Mecki Bodemark from the disbanded Mecki Mark Men, they would eventually transform into the second version of Mecki Mark Men. In 1970, this line-up became the first Swedish group to tour America. In 1971, Mecki Mark Men would break up and the Baby Grandmothers line-up would form a band called Kebnekajse. This album consists of live recordings from Filips. As far as I'm concerned, this is some of the greatest psychedelic music ever recorded, especially since it's live. Kenny Håkansson's guitar playing is absolutely amazing and the drums and bass compliment it perfectly.

Go here for more information on the Baby Grandmothers

Download Baby Grandmothers

The Always Blue Society Compilation Vol. 2

Here's my second compilation. The tracklist goes something like this:

1. Got A Feelin - Comets On Fire
2. Rimbaud Blues - Comets On Fire
3. Drowned My Life In Fear - Leaf Hound
4. All These Years - Lazy Smoke
5. Try a Little Sunshine - The Factory
6. Mr. Grey - Stone Circus
7. In My Dream - The Action
8. Deboraarobed - Tyrannosaurus Rex
9. Stamping Machine - July
10. Bike Ride To The Moon - The Dukes of Stratosphear
11. The Good Mr. Square - The Pretty Things
12. She Was Tall, She Was High - The Pretty Things
13. Uncle Jack - Spirit
14. Cinema Olympia - Gal Costa
15. Questions (Did You Know - Will We Be Alive) - Ithaca
16. A Mind Blown Is A Mind Shown - Hapshash & The Coloured Coat

Download The Always Blue Society Compilation Vol. 2

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Tyrannosaurus Rex - Prophets Seers & Sages: The Angels Of The Ages (1968)

This is the second album from the British folk duo consisting of Marc Bolan and Steve Peregrin Took that would later transform into the famous glam rock group T. Rex. Although Bolan's vocal style is similarly flamboyant in both Tyrannosaurus Rex and T. Rex, the overall sound is entirely different. Prophets Seers & Sages: The Angels Of The Ages combines Bolan's acoustic guitar and vocals with Took's impressive, fast-paced bongo playing. The songs are all excellent as is Bolan's voice. The lyrical content is apparently packed with references to Lord of the Rings, but none of this really registers with me since I'm vehemently opposed to all of that mystical bullshit...just kidding, sort of. The only outwardly psychedelic moment in the album is in the first track, "Deboraarobed." The first half of the song segues into the same song played backwards, which was pretty unheard of at the time. Backwards recording had certainly been used at this point, but not nearly as blatantly. By the way, I don't know what the deal is with the song, "Our Wonderful Brownskin Man."

Stand-Out Tracks:
"Stacey Grove"
"Wind Quartets"
"Salamanda Palaganda"


This link is no longer available.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Pitchfork reviews the reissue of the Blossom Toe's We Are Ever So Clean

Weird. Pitchfork did another review of an album I have on here and gave another 8.6 rating. I found this quote from the article very interesting: "In the new reissue's liner notes, the Toes claim their songs were all written by the time somebody played them an acetate of Sgt. Pepper's in the studio." I mainly find this interesting because it backs up a point I made in my post about We Are Ever So Clean.

Read the Pitchfork review here
Read my entry on We Are Ever So Clean

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The Action - Rolled Gold (1967-68)

The Action were a British band originally involved in the mod scene. They were discovered by the Beatles' producer George Martin, who signed the group to his EMI-based AIR Productions in 1965. They began to grow out of their mod roots and develop a more emotional, mildly psychedelic sound. Despite being signed and having successful club shows, the Action never managed to chart a hit. Their bad luck would continue to follow when EMI rejected the Rolled Gold demos and eventually dropped them from the label. Line-up changes ensued and led to the group transforming into Mighty Baby. The Action are still regarded as one of the greatest bands of the 60s to never catch a break and Rolled Gold proves this to be true. It's packed with sophisticated guitar pop that is consistently engaging. It's a downright shame that it never saw the light of day in the 60s.

"In My Dream"

Download Rolled Gold

Monday, July 16, 2007

Pretty sweet news

This morning I got an email informing me that this poster I designed will be printed at a whopping 4'X8' and exhibited at Lollapalooza in Grant Park. Not only that, but I get a copy of the print and I get two free three-day passes to Lollapalooza. Needless to say, I'm pretty excited about the news. I've never had my work printed at a size even close to this, so that's one of the best things about it. The poster is promoting three fictional, psychedelic bands called the Melting Strawberries, the Wandering Eyeballs and the Polished Suitcase. Also, the email said that my image "was chosen by the producers of
Lollapalooza and Perry Farrel." I really hope that Perry Farrel actually played a role in choosing my image.

I'll get back to posting albums sooner or later. Just decided to give it a little break for a while.

Pitchfork Festival/Delicious Design League

Arthur Lee Benefit Poster by Delicious Design League

I just got back from my weekend at the Pitchfork Festival here in Chicago. Overall it was pretty great. I was an idiot and waited too long to get tickets for the Sonic Youth/GZA/Slint show but Saturday and Sunday were still good and well worth it. My favorite acts were Clipse, Deerhunter, Stephen Malkmus and De La Soul. Grizzly Bear, Fujiya and Miyagi, Menomena and Junior Boys were also good. Anyhow, they had some amazing concert posters in one part of the park and I managed to get the last copy of the Arthur Lee Benefit poster. It was extra weird because I had an image of this exact poster saved on my computer because I liked it so much. It was printed by an excellent design group from Chicago called Delicious Design League. Be sure to check out their site because I'm really, really impressed by all of their work.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Dukes of Stratosphear - Chips from the Chocolate Fireball (1987)

This is some of the most authentic sounding (if not the most) attempts at recapturing the sound of the psychedelic era. Created as a side project by the British band XTC, the Dukes of Stratosphear aimed to parody and pay tribute to the 60s psychedelic sound. XTC initially denied affiliation with the Dukes and even adopted pseudonyms to mask their identities. Andy Partridge was Sir John Johns, Colin Moulding was the Red Curtain, David Gregory was Lord Cornelius Plum, and Gregory's brother Ian joined the Dukes as Ian E.I.E.I. Owen. Their sound is very well conceived both compositionally and texturally, combining great songs with excellent psychedelic instrumentation and effects. Chips from the Chocolate Fireball is an anthology combining the Dukes' EP from 1985 called 25 O'Clock and their LP from 1987 called Psonic Psunspot. Personally, I find the material from 25 O'Clock to be superior than Psonic Psunspot but don't get me wrong, it's all good.

"Bike Ride To The Moon"

Music video for "The Mole from the Ministry"

Go here for an informative site on the Dukes of Stratosphear.

Download Chips from the Chocolate Fireball

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Jimmy Appudurai Chua

"Jimmy Appudurai Chua was born in Singapore where he played guitar and harp with several bands during the 1960s including The Meltones, The Motif, The Bee Jays and Blues By Five before moving to London in the early 70s when The Straydogs landed a recording contract with Harvest Records (EMI).

Turning to rock photography, Jimmy photographed many famous legends such as Buddy Guy, Jack Bruce, Alexis Korner, The Yardbirds, Eric Clapton, John Mayall, Pop Staples, Jimmy Smith, Albert Collins, Ry Cooder, Top Topham, Steve Winwood, Michael Kamen, Adrian Legg, Dave Gilmour, Blur, Manic Street Preachers and the Foo Fighters. Mostly photographing the artists live, Jimmy also did studio shots of The Yardbirds and The Pretty Things.

Jimmy's surname is often spelt incorrectly as Appadurai, even in Singapore's BigO Magazine for which he was an overseas contributor for many years. Now relocated to Liskeard, Cornwall, where he is enjoying the local music scene, Jimmy is planning to record some of his compositions in 2006."

Unfortunately these are the only photographs of his I can find.

Go here for more.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Lazy Smoke - Corridor of Faces (1969)

Lazy Smoke was a band from Massachusetts with a lead singer that sounds eerily similar to John Lennon at times. Their music is mid-tempo and slow guitar pop with psychedelic and folk influences. For what it's worth, many of their slower songs remind me of the modern British band the Clientele, because of the lazy, melancholy style of pop. The first track, "All These Years," sets a very psychedelic tone with tasteful backwards guitar, nice lead guitar, and immediately striking vocals. Nothing else on the album is as heavily psychedelic, but the song-writing often still has psychedelic influences. The recordings are pretty lo-fi, which lends itself well to the band's sound. Overall, I find it to be a very good listen with songs that grow on you the more you listen. This release comes with twelve bonus tracks of acoustic demos, which I haven't given much of a listen yet.

Stand-Out Tracks:
"All These Years"
"How Was Your Day Last Night"
"Under Skys"
"Sarah Saturday"

"All These Years"

Download Corridor of Faces

Monday, June 18, 2007

The Pretty Things - LSD

Here's the Pretty Things explicitly singing about LSD a year before the Beatles had even hinted at it. It's funny what you can get away with when you aren't a media darling.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Pretty Things - Parachute (1970)

The Pretty Things are one of the most important British rock bands of the 60s and 70s that somehow never gained recognition in the States. They started as an R&B rock band much like the Rolling Stones and in '67 they took a turn towards psychedelia with the orchestrated album, Emotions. Then they went on to record the first rock opera ever, S.F. Sorrow, but the Who's Tommy would outshine it with much better sales. Founding member Dick Taylor would leave shortly after, apparantly disappointed with the lack of recognition it received. The band carried on and recorded Parachute with excellent results. The first six tracks have a striking similarity to the second side of Abbey Road, due to the use of seamless songs and layered vocal harmonies. This similarity is no surprise considering that Parachute was recorded in Abbey Road with the Beatles' engineer Norman Smith producing. The first half is the most immediately striking, but the second half has a great combination of raunchy blues and slower songs. According to, the album is a concept album about "a generation caught between the conflicting calls of (rural) peace, love, and boredom, and (urban) sophistication, sex, and squalor in a harsh world." I've only picked up on this concept in a couple tracks thus far, to be honest. The last six songs are bonus tracks, which are inferior to the album cuts, but good nonetheless.

"The Good Mr. Square" & "She Was Tall, She Was High"

Download Parachute

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Stone Circus (1969)

This is the Stone Circus' one and only album and it consists of all original songs that are mainly psych-pop with acid rock influence. I can't figure out exactly where they were from, because one thing I've read said they were thought to have been from California although according to the sticker on the CD it was "recorded by a bunch of musicians from Canada who'd fetched up in New York." So they were either from California or they were some Canadians in New York. There's some great instrumentation including fuzz lead guitar, jangly rhythm guitar, sweet bass and organ grooves, and solid drumming. I really enjoy most all of the songs leading up to the last track called 'People I Once Knew.' It starts with some spoken lyrics over piano and then breaks out into a long organ/wah-wah guitar jam that gets a little boring. The spoken word stuff is entertaining enough to redeem it, though.

Stand-Out Tracks:
"What Went Wrong"
"Adam's Lament"
"Mr. Grey"
"Sarah Wells"

"Mr. Grey"

Download The Stone Circus

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Gal Costa - Gal Costa (Cinema Olympia) (1969)

This is the second album from Brazil's Gal Costa who was an important figure in the Tropicalia movement along with Gilberto Gil and Caetano Velosa, both of whom penned multiple songs for this album. This the first of her two self-titled albums, which are typically distinguished by the first song. From what I've heard of the Tropicalia movement, Costa seems to have taken it the farthest out into psychedelia, even more so than Os Mutantes. This album is full of intense psychedelic effects and styles like screeching wah-wah guitar, heavy delay and reverb, speaker pans, dissonant funk bass lines, innovative production techniques, etc. The list could go on all day. The album has a great combination of the distinctive Tropicalia style and psychedelia because it is based around good songs that are carefully experimented with in the studio. Costa's often wild vocal style also adds perfectly to the experimental style of the album.

"Cinema Olympia"

For more information on Gal Costa, check out the All Music entry.

Download Gal Costa (Cinema Olympia)

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Spirit (1968)

This is the debut album by Spirit from Los Angeles. Their music has a number of different influences including psychedelia, progressive rock, pop, folk, jazz, classical and Indian music. Because they touched on so many different styles of music, they never gained a wide audience but they were still highly regarded. Lead singer/guitarist Randy California (what a sweet name) was only a teenager during the recording of this album while the band's drummer was middle-aged, which sheds some light on their diverse musical approach. I find this to be an overall enjoyable album although sometimes it gets a bit too lost in proggy guitar and piano solos for my taste. It's incredibly well written, arranged and performed, despite lacking some cohesiveness as an album. I've yet to hear any of their other 11 albums but this one has made me eager to hear more.

Stand-Out Tracks:
"Fresh Garbage"
"Uncle Jack"
"Girl In Your Eye"
"Topanga Windows"
"Gramophone Man" (This one gets a little too proggy for me in the middle but it's still a great song.)

"Uncle Jack"

Download Spirit

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Go and brush your shoulders off...

A young Arthur in his hey' gettin' that dirt off his shoulder. Unfortunately, I don't actually have this so if anyone does and is willing to share, let me know.

Monday, May 28, 2007

The Factory - Complete Story! (1966-1969)

The Factory was a very young British psychedelic band that put out a couple of singles in the late 60s that never took off. Their guitarist was 17 and their drummer only 16. This is a compilation of their recordings, which has a great combination of heavy psych, psych-pop, psych-folk and some very lo-fi recordings. "Path Thru the Forest" was their first single that came out on MGM in 1968. It's excellent heavy psychedelia with great lead guitar, feedback, and distorted vocals. There are two versions of this song included, one with a weird intro of monkeys howling and additional psychedelic effects that are well integrated. Their second single was "Try a Little Sunshine" which was written by John Pantry, a friend of IBC engineer Brian Carrol who helped get the Factory started with his colleague Damon Lyon Shaw. This is also an excellent song with great lead guitar and vocal harmonies. The compilation has two covers, including Fairport Convention's "Mr. Lacey" and Family's "Second Generation Woman," neither of which I've heard the original version. Overall, it's a great compilation despite annoying inconsistencies in volume between tracks.

Stand-Out Tracks:
"Path Thru the Forest"
"Try a Little Sunshine"
"Red Chalk Hill"
"The Old and the New"

"Try a Little Sunshine"

Download Complete Story!

Friday, May 25, 2007

Comets on Fire (2001)

This is the first album from Santa Cruz's Comets on Fire. Their music is generally loud, riff-heavy madness although their latest material has taken a turn towards accessibility, which I find somewhat regrettable. This is by far their most spaced out and brutal offering to date. The guitars, drums and vocals are all fucking fierce, to say the least, and the use of the echoplex adds another layer of insanity. The echoplex is an old tape-driven echo and delay unit, which I've wanted ever since I first heard this album. This is actually a reissue of their first record and it includes a bonus 28 minute clip of their live show.

"Got A Feelin"

Download Comets on Fire

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Ithaca - A Game For All Who Know (1973)

First off, don't be deceived by the shitty album cover, because this is a really good album. Ithaca was a British band that played melodic, progressive psych-folk. This is their last album, which was a private-pressed LP that never gained much attention. Most of the album is fairly sparse, sophisticated arrangements of acoustic guitar and electric organ accompanied by male and female vocals that trade off very naturally and pleasantly. There is some use of piano, electric guitar, strings, Mellotron, and recorder, which are all subtle and well integrated. Most of the songs are songs within songs, so there are a number of drastic changes that are very well conceived compositionally and thematically. I've had this album for a while now and it continues to grow on me more and more, especially considering my initial copy's tracks were out of sequence. I find it to be very compelling lyrically, thematically and stylistically. There just seems to be a lot going on that isn't initially apparent.

"Questions (Did You Know - Will We Be Alive)"

Download A Game For All Who Know

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Wolfgang's Vault

Visit Wolfgang's Vault for some sick psychedelic posters and more.

Hapshash and the Coloured Coat - Featuring the Human Host and the Heavy Metal Kids (1967)

Hapshash and The Coloured Coat were a British graphics team consisting of Michael English and Nigel Waymouth and are known for creating some of the most memorable concert posters of the psychedelic era printed and distributed by Osiris Visions. They made posters for Pink Floyd, the Incredible String Band, and many bands who played in the underground UFO club. The two met shortly after Nigel had opened London's first psychedelic boutique, Granny Takes A Trip, working under the name Cosmic Colors, then Jacob and the Coloured Coat, and finally Hapshash and the Coloured Coat. In 2000, their work gained recognition when the Victoria and Albert Museum put on an exhibition of their work. The album foreshadows some of the experimental directions bands like the Velvet Underground would soon be exploring. It is mainly void of song structures, consisting of listless jams with tribal rhythms, driving guitars, dissonant instrumentation and sporadic vocals. The tribal direction of the music is very apparent, particularly on the song '"Aoum" which is entirely a cappella chanting.

"A Mind Blown Is A Mind Shown"

Go here to see Hapshash and the Coloured Coat's psychedelic posters.

Go here for Nigel Waymouth's website.

Download Featuring the Human Host and the Heavy Metal Kids

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

July - The Second of July (1967)

This is a collection of previously unreleased material from the British psychedelic band July, largely consisting of demos of the songs from their self-titled album. There are a few tracks on this that didn't make it to the album though. As I mentioned earlier, it's interesting to listen to these songs and hear how much many of them were developed prior to recording the album. Although it lacks the production of the self-titled album, the lo-fi recording lends itself well to many of the tracks, particularly the acoustic ballad "Man Outside."

Stand-Out Tracks:
"My Clown"
"Stamping Machine"
"(A) Bird Lived"
"You See Me I See You"
"Man Outside"

"Stamping Machine"

Download The Second of July

Monday, May 7, 2007

A Cricket in the Court of Akbar

I've been taking a break from updating this blog because school is quite hectic right now. I'm hoping to get started again soon, but in the meantime, here's a trailer for a very interesting documentary that I stumbled across on youtube. This is what it's about:

"American student of Indian Classical music, Andrew Mendelson, competes in the largest music competition in Rajasthan, India. Sitar in hand, he attempts to navigate the complex rules of this ancient tradition only to find that his western culture clash might be insurmountable. Will he find acceptance before facing India's newest generation of master musicians?"

I really want to check this out for a number of reasons. First off, although I haven't listened to Indian Classical music all that much, psychedelic music has definitely made me more and more compelled. I'm also very interested by the culture clash aspect of the film. I find it truly inspring that this guy is willing to step into a very different culture and compete in a tradition that's not his own.

Go here for more information:
Ragamala Productions

Friday, April 20, 2007

The Always Blue Society Compilation Vol. 1

I decided to make a compilation of sorts to give a general idea of how all the artists sound that I've posted so far. I made somewhat of an attempt to put the songs in an interesting order so that it has a decent flow to it. Here's the tracklist:

1. Look At Me I'm You - Blossom Toes
2. On With The Show - Idle Race
3. I'm So Happy - Rainbow Ffolly
4. My Clown - July
5. Love Jumped Through My Window - Arthur Lee
6. Five Day Week Straw People - Five Day Week Straw People
7. (We Are) The Orange Alabaster Mushroom - The Orange Alabaster Mushroom
8. Look At Merri - The Rain Parade
9. Kingsley J - Vibrasonic
10. Grave Implications - The Tape-beatles
11. Love Without Sound - White Noise
12. I Am The Fly - Wire
13. Babbling Flower (Live) - Dead Meadow
14. Daddy's Bare Meat - Acid Mothers Temple and The Melting Paraiso U.F.O.

Download The Always Blue Society Compilation Vol. 1

More Tape-beatles

Here's a website with a bunch of albums by the Tape-Beatles as well as Public Works, which is another alias of theirs. One of the links to download a song from The Grand Delusion is screwed up on this site, which is why I posted the album here. So don't try downloading it from this site. I'm not sure if there are any other bad links but I sure hope not. Also, I realized the link for The Grand Delusion was dead, so I re-uped it. Anyway, here's the link:

U B U W E B :: The Tape-beatles / Public Works / Collaborations

Monday, April 16, 2007

Rainbow Ffolly - Sallies Fforth (1967)

Rainbow Ffolly was a British psych-pop band that released only one album. The band was founded by two brothers named Jon and Richard Dunsterville, Jon serving as the songwriter. After recording a 12-track demo at the Jackson Recording studio, the songs were sent to EMI who were so impressed that they asked to release the demo as an album. The band was hesitant because they hadn’t meant for the demo to be a finished product, but they went ahead with it anyway because it was so difficult to get a recording contract at the time. Unfortunately, the album didn’t have good sales and they didn’t make enough money touring, so by 1968 they called it quits. It’s a shame because I’m sure if they had the opportunity to record a proper album, it would’ve been great. The music on Sallies Fforth is a combination of upbeat and slow psychedelic pop full of rich vocal harmonies, great songwriting, and quirky psychedelic intros.

Stand-Out Tracks:
“She’s Alright”
“I’m So Happy”
“Drive My Car” (Not a Beatles cover)
“Sun & Sand”

"I'm So Happy"

Download Sallies Forth

Friday, April 13, 2007

The Tape-beatles - The Grand Delusion (1993)

This really isn't a psychedelic album but it's hard to find and a really interesting album so I'm going to put it up anyway. The Tape-beatles are a multi-media group from Iowa City that formed in 1986. The Grand Delusion is the only album of theirs I've heard so far. It was created as a reaction to the Persian Gulf War, using voice samples largely derived from speeches (lots of Bush Sr.), television news, and occasionally some crazy religious types. These voice samples are placed into eerie contexts with collages of sampled sounds and music.

"Grave Implications"

Wikipedia entry on the Tape-beatles

Download The Grand Delusion

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Five Day Week Straw People (1967)

This is some guitar-driven British psychedelic rock featuring John Du Cann of the Attack, Adromeda, and the Atomic Rooster. After the Attack parted ways, Du Cann was asked by the independent label Saga to record a psychedelic album and so he wrote a loose concept album about the typical weekend of the British working class. The band was taken to record the album at a studio, which turned out to be a children's nursery and within 4 hours, the album was recorded. Because it was written and recorded so hastily, there are times when you can tell the band isn't quite together, which I think adds to the charm of the album. Considering the circumstances, most of the songs are surprisingly good although some are a little bland. I particularly like the guitar solos. This also includes a number of bonus tracks by the Attack.

Stand-Out Tracks:
"Five Day Week Straw People"
"I'm Going Out Tonight"
"Gold Digger"
"Car Wash"
"Dust Is In My Eyes"

"Five Day Week Straw People"

Download Five Day Week Straw People

Monday, April 9, 2007

Arthur Lee - Vindicator (1972)

This is the first post-Love album from the late, great Arthur Lee. Although it's not on the same level as Love's best work, it's still a great album that showcases Lee's looser, bluesy style. It seems that Lee was heavily influenced by Jimi Hendrix during this time, which isn't surprising considering he had recorded some music with Hendrix before his death. Lee and Hendrix have history that dates back to when Hendrix was a session guitarist for the Isley Brothers. I can only imagine how sweet it would have been if the two had recorded an album together. For some reason, this album is no longer in print and sells for absurd amounts of money online, so don't sleep.

Stand-Out Tracks:
"Love Jumped Through My Window"
"Find Somebody"
"Everybody's Gotta Live"
"You Want Change For Your Re-Run"

"Love Jumped Through My Window"

Download Vindicator

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Wire - Chairs Missing (1978)

This is veering away from the psychedelic theme but this album does have somewhat of a psychedelic influence. Wire is a post-punk band from London and this is their second album, following the punk rock classic Pink Flag. With this album they took a more experimental approach without veering too far away from their punk sound. The sound of this album draws comparisons to early Pink Floyd, which I think is evident at certain times but not overwhelmingly so. Overall, I think this is an excellent album with a great balance between punk, pop, and more experimental material.

Stand-Out Tracks:
"Practice Makes Perfect"
"French Film Blurred"
"Outdoor Miner"
"I Am The Fly"
"From The Nursery"
Too many to choose, really.

"I Am The Fly"

Download Chairs Missing

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Rain Parade - Emergency Third Rail Power Trip/Explosions in the Glass Palace (1983/84)

Rain Parade were a part of the 80s Paisley Underground scene in LA along with such bands as the Bangles, the Three O'Clock and the Dream Syndicate. Of this scene, Rain Parade had the most psychedelic influenced sound. Their music is calm, melodic pop heavily inspired by 60s music, most noticably the Byrds. This album combines the 1983 LP Emergencty Third Rail Power Trip and the 1984 EP Explosions in the Glass Palace, which does not include the departed founding member David Robak. Robak would go on to form Opal, which eventually would become Mazzy Star.

Stand-Out Tracks:
"This Can't Be Today"
"I Look Around"
"Look At Merri"
"No Easy Way Down"

"Look At Merri"

Download Emergency Third Rail Power Trip/Explosions in the Glass Palace (2 files)

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Acid Mothers Temple and the Melting Paraiso U.F.O. - Does the Cosmic Shepherd Dream of Electric Tapirs? (2004)

Here's an interesting album from the Japanese psychedelic collective, Acid Mothers Temple and the Melting Paraiso U.F.O. The album starts off with "Daddys' Bare Meat" which is some intense, psychedelic jamming. Then it moves onto a few calmer acoustic tracks. "Suzie Sixteen" is a playful song with what seems to be improvised jibberish for lyrics. "Hello Good Child" and "The Assassin's Beautiful Daughter" are fairly slow tracks with great vocals, guitar, and psychedelic textures. The 25-minute "Dark Star Blues" is an epic psychedelic freak-out in the AMT tradition and the album closer, "The Transmigration of Hop Heads" is 18 minutes of ambient drone.

"Daddy's Bare Meat"

Download Does the Cosmic Shepherd Dream of Electric Tapirs?

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Space And Time: A Compendium of The Orange Alabaster Mushroom (1991-1998)

This is some of my favorite psych-pop of the 90s. The Orange Alabaster Mushroom is a one-man band created by Greg Watson of Ottawa. While a member of the garage rock band the Fiends, Watson began recording his own psychedelic-inspired music. This collection of his work has a fairly authentic psychedelic sound through the use of keyboards, vocal harmonies, backwards guitar, and overall solid songwriting.

Stand-Out Tracks:
"Your Face Is In My Mind"
"(We Are) The Orange Alabaster Mushroom"
"Tree Pie"
"Another Place"
"Mister Day"

"(We Are) The Orange Alabaster Mushroom"

Here's a video for "Your Face Is In My Mind" using clips from the movie Girl on a Motorcycle. I don't really know what the deal is with this, but it at least gives you an idea of what the Orange Alabaster Mushroom sounds like.

Download Space And Time

Thursday, March 29, 2007

July (1968)

In my opinion, this is one of the best British psychedelic albums ever recorded. July didn't last much longer than a year as a band, but during that time they managed to record this classic album. In addition to this, a compilation of demos would also be released called The Second of July, which I'll post sooner or later. It's also a really good listen, especially since you can see how much the songs developed prior to the official album. I highly recommend this album because I think that many of the tracks really capture the essence of the 60s psychedelic sound.

Stand-Out Tracks:
"My Clown"
"Jolly Mary"
"You Missed It All"
"The Way"
"To Be Free"

"My Clown"

Download July